Rare book has brands of Dakota Territory historical figures

Submitted Art This is the cover of the “Brand Book of the Montana Stock Growers Association for 1885-86,” a rare book at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck. The book contains brands of historical figures of Dakota Territory.

BISMARCK – A rare book at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck contains the brands of historical figures of Dakota Territory.

Mark Halvorson, curator of collections research for the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the agency that preserves and presents history through museums and historic sites in the state of North Dakota, said the oldest brand book at the Bismarck facility, the “Brand Book of the Montana Stock Growers Association for 1885-86,” contains brands of the Marquis de Mores and others who settled in what was then Dakota Territory in the 1800s.

Halvorson said that the brand book is not on display but the front cover and pages have been digitized. “It’s a rare book,” he said.

Besides the Marquis de Mores, who founded the town of Medora in the early 1880s, the brand book includes brands of Teddy Roosevelt, an 1880s rancher who became president of the United States, and A.C. Huidekooper, another 1880s rancher who started what would become the biggest horse ranch.

“Who was the most famous rancher from that day who has a town named after him which is still booming” asked Halvorson during a visit with him this past fall.

“Pierre Wibaux,” he replied.

Wibaux’s brands are also in the 1885-86 publication.

The city of Wibaux, earlier named Keith, Beaver and Mingusville, is just across the North Dakota border in Montana. By mid-1890s, Wibaux’s ranch was one of the largest cattle operations in the nation.

The oldest brand book at the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association based in Bismarck, is the 1892 North Dakota Stock Growers Association book.

Roosevelt’s brands can also be found in the 1892 and 1902 brand books, according to Rachael Preusse, NDSA brand recorder. She said other early day brands in the 1892 book include the Connolly Brothers of Oakdale, S.M. Ferris of Medora, Long X owned by the Reynolds Brothers and the AHA owned by Converse & Son.

Brand recording started in Dakota Territory more than 150 years ago. In 1862 the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota passed an act making it the duty of the register of deeds of each county to record a description of the marks or brands persons chose to mark their horses, cattle, sheep or hogs, according to the 1986 Brand Book. Later legislation called for the county clerk of each county to record brands later that was changed to the commissioner of agriculture and labor.

The N.D. Stockmen’s Association has operated the brand recording program since Aug. 1, 1993, when those responsibilities were transferred from the Agriculture Department to the Stockmen’s Association, Preusse said.

As of mid-October 2018, just under 22,000 livestock brands were recorded, Preusse said. The next time brands expire will be Jan. 1, 2021.


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